As it is mentioned in the previous article I posted, that a student who is going for the USMLE exam can take Step 2 CK before Step-1. Today I am going to give you a brief overview of USMLE STEP 2 CK and how you can score 250+ in your exam. STEP 2 CK is actually that part of USMLE which is concerned with your “Clinical Knowledge”, and its application in the management of the patient.


If you are a beginner in USMLE, then it is advised for you to give a thorough read on the following articles before reading USMLE STEP-2 CK guidelines:

USMLE [A General Study Guide to the USMLE Steps]

USMLE STEP-1 [A Comprehensive Guideline]

What is USMLE Step 2 CK: A Brief Overview

USMLE STEP-2 or “Clinical Knowledge” is a nine-hour, MCQs part of the USMLE (The United States Medical Licensing Exam). This exam assesses the clinical knowledge through a traditional, MCQ examination system. This exam also assesses your clinical knowledge, skills, and knowledge of basic sciences which are required for the provision of patient care under the supervision of an authority.


Step 2 CK can be taken by students while in Medical School,

  • US and Canadian Med-School Students recognized by Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
  • US and Canadian Med-School Students recognized by American Osteopathic Association
  • Students outside US and Canadian Med-Schools recognized by International Medical Education Directory (IMED) and Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. (ECFMG).


Components of USMLE Step 2 CK or Clinical Knowledge

Step 2 is the actual application of Physician’s clinical knowledge under supervision.

What is asked? How to apply clinical Knowledge to practice medicines.

When to take? During 3rd and 4th year. (Clinical Years)

Time Duration:  9 hours (one day), broken into 8, one hour block with 40-45 questions each block.

MCQ Questions: 355

Format: Computer Based

Test Place: Prometric Sites Internationally


Exam Criteria

The USMLE Step 2 exam is basically divided into two categories which are further sub-divided into two or three more categories:

  • General Principles

  • General Principles of Basic Sciences (1%-3%)
  • Organ Systems (85%-95%)
  • Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Population Health (1%-5%)
  • Physician’s Tasks

  • Medical or Clinical Knowledge Concepts (10%-15%)
  • Patient Care (Diagnosis) (40%-50%)
  • Patient Care (Management) (30%35%)
  • Professionalism/Patient Safety and Physician’s Behavior (3%-7%)

Screenshot 26 300x93 - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

Given below is the brief description of above-mentioned criterion:

Basic Sciences (15-3%) Organ System (85%-95%) Biostatistics (1%-5%)
The basic knowledge of the clinical sciences is focused in this part. There are very few MCQs on this topic.          i.            Immune        System

ii.            Blood system

iii.            Lymphocytic System

iv.            Behavioral Health

v.            Nervous System & Special Senses

vi.            Skin & Subcutaneous Tissue

vii.            Musculoskeletal System

viii.            Cardiovascular System

ix.            Respiratory System

x.            Gastrointestinal System

xi.            Renal & Urinary Systems

xii.            Pregnancy, Childbirth, & the Puerperium

xiii.            Female Reproductive System & Breast

xiv.            Male Reproductive System

xv.            Endocrine System

  xvi.            Multisystem Processes & Disorders

A very Small Portion of the exam consists of questions from biostatistics and you have to give it some time as it is a very difficult subject.


What tasks are assigned to Physician in USMLE Step 2 CK Exam?

Below given is the brief description of the tasks assigned to a physician:

Physician’s Task How much is asked?
Medical Knowledge and Concepts 10%-15%
Patient Diagnosis

·       History

·       Physical Examination

·       Laboratory or Diagnostic Test

·       Diagnosis

·       Outcome and Prognosis





Patient Management

·       Health Maintenance

·       Disease Prevention

·       Clinical Interventions

·       Pharmacotherapy

·       Disease Recurrence

·       Mixed Management






Safety of the Patient

System Based Practice and Learning




Questioning Criteria:

In USMLE Step 2 CK exam, there are 355 Multiple Choice Questions. The following table will make it clear for understanding the type of the questions asked:

Questions Format Type of Questions Asked
Total Number of questions=355 (max) MCQs

·       9 Hours

·       8 Blocks

·       42-45 questions in each block

·       45 minutes break

·       15 minutes tutorial, in the beginning,

There are long Clinical Vignette Type questions are asked focusing on the following sections:

·       What is the most probable diagnosis>

·       What be the ‘Next’ Step of management?

·       What would be the most probable diagnostic or laboratory test?

·       How would you manage this complication?


USMLE Step 2 CK Comprehensive Study:

For USMLE Step 2 CK exam following subjects are to be focused:

  1. Internal Medicine
  2. Surgery
  3. OB/Gynecology
  4. Pediatrics
  5. Psychiatry
  6. Biostatistics (2-3 questions)


USMLE Step 2 CK Study Material/ Content    

Most of the students get confused when they start preparing for Step-2 CK as there are so many resources to go through but here are some of the sources which are considered very high yield for USMLE Step-2 CK Preparation.

  1. Kaplan Videos for USMLE STEP 2 CK

Kaplan - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

When it comes to preparing USMLE Step-2, Kaplan Videos are considered very high yield.

  1. First Aid for USMLE Step 2 CK

First aid CK 231x300 - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

Now the first aid is considered to be very high yield as it is more accurate and contains almost all the knowledge necessary to clear step-2 CK exam.

  1. U-World (Online)- Gold Standard

U world 1024x297 - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

USMLE World question bank is one very high yield resource for self-assessment and preparing for USMLE Step 2 CK.

  1. Online MedEd

Online MedEd 300x169 - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

Many of the Med-Students who have cleared their step-2, consider this source very useful as this helps in solving many questions during the exam.

  1. Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK

master the boards 231x300 - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

This book like First Aid contains a lot of knowledge to clear step 2 CK.

  1. NBME (Gold Standard)

NBME 1024x294 - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

There are a total of 7 NBME’s self-assessment exams which will give you the best results of your preparation.


As it is not possible for any student to study all the above-mentioned resources to clear USMLE Step 2 CK exam due to the very short period of time. I have divided the above-mentioned resources into 3 categories so that to make it easy for you to clear your USMLE STEP-2 Exam.

Screenshot 25 1024x720 - What is USMLE Step 2 CK? | How Long is USMLE Step-2 CK?

How to Study?

Remember one thing you have to study very hard to clear your Step 2 CK exam. It may not be as much difficult as STEP-1 but it still demands a lot of dedication and hard work. In order to study enough for Step 2 CK, follow the following routine for at least 4 months (if you do not work or you are not an intern) and 6 months if you are working somewhere or you are an intern.

  • Wake up at 6:00 AM in the morning,
  • 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM; Exercise, Cardio or Gym,
  • 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM; Breakfast,
  • 8:00 AM – 12 PM; Study,
  • 12 PM – 1:00 PM; Lunch Break,
  • 1 PM – 5 PM; Study Again’
  • 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM; Relax, Exercise, Gym,
  • 6:30 PM – 7:00 PM; Dinner,
  • 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM; U-World, NBME, MedED,
  • 10 PM, Bedtime,

Repeat this routine every day and you will be prepared to appear for USMLE STEP-2 CK.

Registration and Fee Structure:

To know about the registration procedure and fee structure please read the below-mentioned article;


USMLE [A General Study Guide To All USMLE Steps]

Exam Day:

No matter how smart or intelligent you are, on the exam day, you will be nervous or even may be jittery, shaking. But, after 20-30 minutes you will feel normal. Keep in mind:

  • To go to bed early (10 Pm – 6 AM)
  • Take your breakfast
  • Take your lunch with you
  • Use your break time wisely ( You will be having a break of total time 45 minutes and 15 minutes extra if you don’t attend tutorial. Split this break times into 3-4 parts of 10-15 minutes)
  • Read the statement carefully, take your time. Do not hurry!
  • Don’t indulge yourself in meaningless activities


Follow the following tips to save your precious time:


  • Learn Vocabulary
  • Study in groups
  • Take active notes from videos
  • Pause video when necessary
  • Memorize Basics again and again
  • Revise basic biology
  • Make flashcards
  • Look for patterns
  • Connect all the information
  • Do ask for help from others
  • Highlight the important topics
  • Attach paper tags


A word from Author:

If you find this article beneficial, kindly give us feedback and if you want any topic in specific also mention it in the comments section. Feel free to drop an email at


Disclaimer: All contents of this article are for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information is solely at your own risk.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here